Invention of the Powered Parachute in Canada
In the early eighties, aeronautics engineer Jacques Fleury began building powered parachutes as a hobby in a small shop next to his home. He had opened up a skydive school several years earlier and was looking for a way to remain in the sky for a longer period of time with his parachute. Sales were done strictly through word of mouth and he soon expanded to a hangar at the Victoriaville Airport (halfway between Montreal and Quebec City) and started producing a 3-wheel powered parachute called the “Harfang des Neiges”. The French name translates to “Snowy Owl”.
After several years of flying, it became apparent that there had to be a better way to build a ppc. Some customers rolled their machines and had sustained leg injuries, including Jacques with his infamous “roll it in front of the bank manager” episode. It was at that time in early 1990 that he vowed to find an end to the problem and came up with the first 4-wheel powered parachute and a way to keep the legs protected inside the cart.
A new alliance
In 1996 Joe Albanese associated with Jacques Fleury and formed Para-Ski International Inc. to introduce the “Harfang de Neiges” powered parachute under the Para-Ski banner. The “Harfang des Neiges” name brand was subsequently changed to “Propulsion PDM” in 1997 and now both the Propulsion and Para-Ski brands are available internationally.
The Designers’ Credentials
Unlike the majority of other manufacturers in the industry that have “zero” experience in aviation prior to building powered parachutes for the public, Jacques Fleury has spent his lifetime in aviation. This aeronautical and structural engineer has over 10,000 hours in General Aviation airplanes, has owned 23 different types of airplanes and has built 8 of them. He is also a skydive instructor with over 4,000 jumps and has represented Canada in international sky-diving competitions in Europe. Mr. Fleury is credited as being the inventor of the powered parachute in Canada.
Constant refinements in response to customer feedback have brought the Para-Ski Powered Parachute to the technological work of art it is today. The hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed, the Para-Ski won six prestigious awards: